Our People - Robert Heywood
7 October 1916
#18607 Private Robert Heywood
12th (Service) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)
61st Brigade, 20th (Light) Division
Killed in action 7 October 1916 age 23
Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. Ref: Pier and Face 1D 8B and 8C
Son of John Thomas Heywood and Ellen Heywood, of 54, Mill St., Farington, Preston, Lancs.
Robert Heywood was born on 9 October 1892 in Farington to John Thomas Heywood and Ellen Heywood (nee Hodson). He was baptised at St.Paul, Farington on 30 October 1892. John Heywood was a rubber worker and his son followed him into that trade. In 1911 the family lived at 28 Mill Street in Farington.
Robert was aged 21 and 11 months old when he attested on 4 September 1914. He was passed fit and is described on his medical examination paper as being 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds. His chest was 34 inches with a 2 inch rate of expansion. His was a fair complexion with brown eyes and brown hair. He had a burn scar on the right underside of his chin. His visual acuity was nearly normal in the right eye and normal in the left. He gave his religion as Church of England.
The 12th Battalion of the King's (Liverpool Regiment) were formed at Seaforth September 1914 and went to Aldershot to join the 20th Division. In February 1915 they were at Witley and then in April 1915 they were in training on Salisbury plain. On 24 July 1915 the 20th Division landed at Boulogne.
Their first battle action was at Mount Sorrel on the Ypres Salient from 2 February 1916. From there the 20th went to the Somme where they took part in the Battle of Delville Wood at Guillemont from 21 August, next they were in action at the Battle of Guillemont from 3 September. Robert was next in action at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette from 16 September, the Battle of Morval from 27 September 1916 and then the Battle of the Transloy Ridges from 1 October where he was killed in action on 7 October 1916. The war diary for the 12th Battalion explains the attack they made that day.
Robert Heywood was numbered among the missing. Letters from an uncle and a friend were sent to the records depot from late October 1916 to January 1917 enquiring as to his whereabouts. It was assumed he had been taken to a casualty clearing station after the action in which he was posted missing. This period, as you might imagine, was always a very anxious period for the families of the men.
Robert was never sent to a casualty clearing station and his body was never recovered for burial. He was listed as killed in action 7 October 1916, just two days short of his 24th birthday. His name appears on the Thiepval Memorial. His father John received £4 8s. 10d. on 5 May 1917 and a war gratuity of £9 on 9 October 1919.
Robert also appears on the Farington Moss - St. Paul's C.E. WW1 Window, Leyland - St.Ambrose C.E. WW1 Cross and the Leyland - St.Ambrose C.E. WW1 Plaque. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
The Battle of Transloy Ridges. 1 - 18 October. A captured German gun pulled by British troops and surrounded by onlookers is brought back from High Wood.
© IWM (Q 4376)
Letters from relatives of Robert Heywood enquiring as to his well being